Seven Lean Years (1961) was Celia Fremlin's third novel of suspense. Its protagonist is Ellen Fortescue, engaged to be married, but oddly uneasy about her approaching wedding. Her fiance Leonard is a man of varying moods, most combustibly where the subject of his stepmother Laura is concerned. Ellen is inclined to a kinder view; but then the woman Ellen calls 'Cousin Laura' does have a complicated history with the Fortescue family...
'Fremlin wraps up her little mystery cunningly in this accomplished thriller-chiller of a book.' Sunday Times
'Fremlin has a quite extraordinary ability for imbuing the normal with intimations of doom-to-come. And when she begins to develop her elegantly horrible climax, the shivers chase each other down one's spine.'Birmingham Post
'Celia Fremlin is about our best hope to compete with the American intelligent superior suspense school.'Observer